Another superior Lake Superior dining destination is calling it quits.
Following on the heels of the October demise of Wild Rice in Bayfield, Wis., Duluth restaurateurs Eric and Lynn Goerdt have announced that they’re closing their Northern Waters Restaurant. (That’s Eric in the restaurant, pictured above, in a Star Tribune file photo).
Located in the city’s Mount Royal neighborhood, the restaurant opened in March 2016 as a more ambitious sibling to the couple’s wildly popular Northern Waters Smokehaus, a deli and sandwich shop in the city’s Canal Park district. Not to worry: Northern Waters Smokehaus, located in the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, isn't going anywhere.
The restaurant’s last day will be December 31st. Although it was open for less than two years, the restaurant's impending demise represents a huge loss to Duluth’s expanding culinary scene (that's the dining room's communal table, pictured above; it's surely the state's longest). From the day it opened, Northern Waters’ eclectic menu, skilled cooking and charming, vaguely Nordic Modern setting made it a must-visit experience.
“This has been such a rewarding and creative process,” said Eric Goerdt in a statement. “We’re continuing to grow at the Smokehaus with our expanding delivery service, catering and mail order. Last December, we sent to every state in the country — it’s clear this needs our full attention to represent the region well.”
The space will not remain dark for long. Another unnamed, locally operated restaurant will take over shortly after the new year. (That's the kitchen's crisped pork belly with polenta, a soft-cooked egg and a green chile sauce, pictured above in a Star Tribune file photo).
Anyone holding gift certificates to the restaurant can also redeem them at Northern Waters Smokehaus.
The restaurant's staff was informed of the decision on Sunday night, and Goerdt said that the news was greeted with both sadness and as a challenge.
“They want to go out with a bang, making the next few weeks absolutely the best for customers in terms of food and service,” he said in a statement. “I am incredibly touched by this.“